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You probably are mistaken and didn't set niceness to -20. If you executed the command as a normal user, for -x you will get 0 instead. For values >20 you will get 20. If running as root, for values <-20, you will get -20. Testing as normal user: $ nice -n -20 sleep 100 nice: cannot set niceness: Permission denied # ps ax -o pid,ni,cmd | grep "sleep ...

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